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Campaign Slogan in Germany: "Yes, Weekend"

In my last post, I complained about the boring German election campaigns. At least some comedians try to add a bit of humor, reports Spiegel International:

A bona fide party called Die Partei (The Party) is campaigning with a satirical program to rebuild the Berlin Wall, turn eastern Germany into a nature reserve and populate it with the nation's pensioners.

And one of the country's best-known comedians, Hape Kerkeling, has formed his own mock party that's "conservative, liberal, left-wing and a bit ecological" and pledges to provide free cosmetic surgery for everyone.  Its catchphrase, possibly based on a misunderstanding of Barack Obama's famous slogan, is "Yes, Weekend." And it wants to abolish the eagle as the national symbol and replace it with the "Federal Rabbit."

German Kaiser Does Not Digg Obama's Czars

The wonders of communication technology never cease to amaze me. Now Obama gets advice from a dead guy. The Washington Post  (via Justin Logan) published an open letter to President Obama from Wilhelm II, German Kaiser and King of Prussia:

Enough with the czars! You've named 18 so far, according to something I read in Foreign Policy. That includes a border czar, a climate czar, an information technology czar and -- I don't think Thomas Jefferson grew enough hemp in his lifetime to dream up this one -- the "faith-based czar." Your car czar, Steve Rattner, was in the news last week, trying to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy. It took Russia 281 years to accumulate that many czars. Even with hemophilia, repeated assassinations and a level of inbreeding that would gag a Dalmatian breeder. You did it in less than 100 days.

Germany Saves the United States

The United States has done so much for Germany in the 20th century. I thought we had to be eternally grateful. Nope, not anymore. Germany has saved Americans from themselves. Now we are even. Yeah! ;-) Read what Justin Logan, the associate director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, has to say:

Recall that President Bush made a full-court press to get Georgia (and Ukraine) onto Membership Action Plans at the recent NATO summit in Bucharest. In a heroic move, the Germans spiked the deal, saving us from ourselves. But both Barack Obama and John McCain favor Georgian accession into NATO - and with it, a full-on security commitments as Article V of the NATO charter makes clear.

Let's hope that even more Americans will realize Germany's opposition to NATO membership action plans for Georgia was a "heroic move" rather than appeasement of Russia. Seriously: While I do think that Justin Logan exaggerates quite bit, I agree with his basic point.

Endnote: The CATO blog is pretty cool. Benjamin Friedman, for instance, warns about China Rising by linking to a Defense News report that notes: "China has banned its air force pilots from drinking alcohol at lunchtime." We better watch out. The West's real threats come from the Far East, not from Eastern Europe. Russia + Vodka = Yoga! ;-)

America Might Not be the Greatest Country on Earth

Why is there so much Anti-Americanism? Lewis Black gives one explanation in a Broadway comedy show in 2004:
The most important part of travel, is when you come home. Because, that's when you see your country with new eyes. I was amazed to realize that we're - we're the only country that - that tells the rest of the world, on a nearly constant basis, that we're the greatest country on Earth. And that is a little f***in' obnoxious! And they know it's obnoxious. Because, if you were in an office, and there was someone there, who came in every day and said; "I'm the greatest fucker here! And you snivelling shits would die without me! Ahahahaha!" I can guarantee that by the end of the week, you'd have killed him! And eaten him, just to try to possess his power!

The Youtube video below includes the above quote and some funny comments about US obsession with health and about milk:

Or shall we chill out and ignore both the Europeans, who complain about US arrogance, and the Americans, who complain about Anti-Americanism in Western Europe? After all boasting about one's country might be considered pretty normal around the world, except in Western Europe. Many Western Europeans dislike nationalism and boasting and instead prefer to put down arrogant others. At least this is what one commenter suggested as previously mentioned:

I think anti-Americanism is some kind of weird, inverted nationalism for people who don't think nationalism is cool (think about it, what better way to believe in the superiority of your nation without being explicit about it?)

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

America's Cultural Superiority

The Anti-Americans and the Manichaean Narcissists

Is it Anti-Americanism or just Disappointment and Sensitivity?

Huckabee: United States Does Integration Better than Europe

Mike Huckabee is a political rockstar in the United States.  Even atheist Democrats who disagree with many of his policies cannot help but be charmed by the former governor.  My friend and a fellow blogger Kevin (one such atheist Democrat) gives his take on this phenomenon at the blog Wyatt Gwyon:
Of the Republican candidates, Huckabee is the most straightforward in presentation and generally the most rigorous in his analyses… I certainly do not concur with the majority of the political positions that stereotypically come with his fundamentalist Christian system of belief, but I am clear on what he believes and can respect his convictions to those beliefs for their principled consistency. Huckabee is a profoundly known factor.
IMHO, style is what has buoyed Huckabee’s presidential bid.  It is not a coincidence that his campaign picked up momentum only a week after he became “Chuck Norris Approved” in a humorous commercial run  prior to him sweeping the Iowa primaries last week.

Huckabee has nonetheless been criticized for lacking a solid foreign policy platform.  This week, he dabbled on the issue of US-European relations by speculating who is better at cultural integration.  As reported by the National Review Online:
It is also difficult for us, with our culture of assimilation, to understand that life for European Muslims is different from life for American Muslims.  Muslims in Britain or the Netherlands or Germany are second-class citizens because those countries have more homogenous populations that don’t readily integrate outsiders.  Instead of melting pots, Europe has separate pots boiling over with alienation and despair. In some countries, like France, it is more a lack of economic integration, while in others, like Britain, it is more a lack of cultural integration, but whatever the reason, Europe is a much more fertile breeding ground for terror than the United States. Unintentionally, some of our closest allies are producing some of our clearest threats. 
I agree with Huckabee that Europe does a poorer job of integration than the US, and that this can breed violence.  However, I find it difficult to pin exactly why the US is a more successful 'melting pot'.  Perhaps one factor is upward mobility: I suspect an individual can transcend their parentage easier in the US than in most European countries, which in turn mitigates social and cultural stratification.